Not Going to Camp (or anywhere)

Since hubby and I meet all the “keep your butt home” directives – we are. It’s easier to dig in and isolate when there are massive quantities of snow everywhere.

Here I was looking forward to being at home, working on my projects. Alas, Both of my sewing machines are not cooperating. That’s correct. BOTH the old and new one refuse to sew. Since each has the same problem, it has got to be me. Usually, I can figure out what is wrong, however, I can’t see inside the threading mechanism enough to figure it out.

OK, so who is going to be my hugger?

I have a ton of sewing to work on. After hours of troubleshooting, cleaning, maintenance, and lots of groaning and growling – I plan to move on to hand sewing. If I tire of that, I’m moving on to yarn projects.

What I Should be Doing

What I should be doing is editing my novel, so I can start my next one during April’s “Camp NaNoWriMo”. With all the lessons learned from last November, I should be able to crank out a suitable first draft. One of the key elements I need to do before camp starts are work on a specific and tight outline. Loose outlines do not work for me – I keep changing things (including the ending) a bunch of times. Then I get “lost.”

“WAhaaa!?!” Did you hear that? That was my loyal readers figuring out why my first book is taking a decade to finish. They will be happy to know that I am editing and NOT re-writing the thing! I finished it in November. Very time-intensive to get it proofread & the bad parts cut out. Some of the first draft paragraphs don’t make sense – even to me.

About The Virus. I’m tired of saying Coronavirus and COVID-19. We all know which Virus we are talking about, right? The one declared a Pandemic. The reason all public events are canceled. Including the Quilt Guild’s meetings and classes. Restaurants & Bars are closed. (Explains the reason booze shelves are empty.) Schools sit empty. I know my granddaughters must be having a blast playing in the snow!

The fact that churches and places of worship are shut down made me sit up and take notice. This is getting scary. Each state and county are putting out announcements and declarations to their local residents. All over this world. This is not a random illness isolated in China or Africa. If you live on the planet Earth – it is affecting your life as I write this. We’re being told that we should not gather in groups of more than 10 people. I wonder if that includes family reunions. Ha!

Schools could be closed down for the rest of the school year. If cases keep increasing, we could be under this “self-quarantine” that long as well. Lord, have mercy! my grandma would say.

If the news doesn’t make you gasp – you are not paying attention. Look around your community and see what the new normal is…

Hoarding behavior has reared it’s ugly head. Major store chains are out of T.P., alcohol, and hand sanitizer. The stores in Calaveras & Tuolumne Counties are barren of hand sanitizer, alcohol, and Bread. T. P. is stolen before it can get out of the market parking lot. Keep your eyes on your cart! We are doing OK. I know how to make bread and I was blessed that our little local store still had eggs and milk on the shelf. I was relieved to find produce (no potatoes though!). Now, we won’t get scurvy. Don’t laugh! People still develop scurvy.

Another winter storm system is due to arrive later this afternoon. Who cares? Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

It’s time to dig out your Oyster Cult album, guys.

** TTFN **

Plan B

Draft #4 (D-4) has begun. It will be the Final Draft. At last.

D-3 was a lot of gutting and changing plot, outline & characters, so D-4 is a complete mess. Things need to be organized so they can be written and then all tied up at the end. Like a book, say.

Five years are enough! I made 2 major errors that have come back to haunt my efforts.  The first is that my outline was too sketchy.  The second error springs from the first one: I can’t make up my mind. About the end, the start & critical scenes.  So what do I do? I go into Deny and Avoid mode and nothing gets accomplished. I sit at my computer and catch up on email, work on Mary Kay or the Quilter’s Guild correspondence & website maintenance.

Anything and everything. Except for The Novel. Once I realized I was doing this and becoming depressed about being afraid of my writing, I had to do something about it. Deny and Avoid mode must be turned around into Focused and Excited mode.

In order to get to the damned point, yes, there is one, I have a Plan B. Why should you care?  Because Plan B involves YOU! The wonderful and fun people who read this blog, can now get a peek into the fictional story that has consumed me for over 5 years.

All I ask is that you read it.

Some or all – is up to you. I do not expect comments (good or bad) about the story – no book reports or pop-quizzes either.  I need to know that someone out there is reading my story, so I stay motivated to keep going and finish what I started.

I’m not making any promises of total chronological order, or a certain daily word count. I do intend to devote as much time as I possibly can.  So, when I write only a couple of words  – such as:  “Research and more Research!”,  you can bet that I was actually doing just that.

I remain “Not Pretending” here at my place  🙂
– Jodi Lea

♥  TTFN  ♥


May those who read, enjoy

STOP, Rewind, Restart, Repeat

NeedsMoreWorkIt means you need to suck it up and re-write them!

In the case of my novel, Through the Door, this means a lot of hard work has been added to its ‘to-do’ list. More research, more brainstorming, more organization. I will do the work to tell a better story – because it deserves it.

I love the characters, the plot and the premise. So I’m stubbornly plugging along on the to-do list and outline. This year work halted a couple of times when family stuff needed my attention. Coming back after a month or two is hard! It is amazing how confused and lost you feel at first. Getting oriented again takes some reading your notes and referring to the outline.

I’m learning so much while writing this novel.  The most important lesson is to make sure you outline more details and organize things tightly, so you do not lose your way in the midst of the chaos. I believe that if I had more details planned out that I would be finished with the writing and working on the editing by now.

It has been said, many times, “write what you know”. I know a little about a lot of things. What I do NOT know MUST be researched. This can be a chore at times, but I would be so disappointed it if I were reading a novel and the flow is interrupted by wrong things about a subject I am familiar with.  It has happened and I was.

I’m growing to like doing research. Often, I am surprised/delighted about what I find out, and now and then I learn something that slides right into my story and makes it better. Win-Win, as it were. [Hubby hates the win-win saying, but sometimes it really applies.]

When I needed to learn about head lice, what I read grossed me out enough –  they didn’t need to show me photos!  Google it if you dare. short articles and huge hideous (zoomed in) photos of creatures from another planet.  My scalp itched for hours after. Telling hubby about it later (he saw no photos or text), his head started itching.  Sorry if yours is now.  My Bad.

Books, archived newspapers and the internet are my best sources, however the most fun is chatting with someone who has experienced for themselves the trials or situation that I’m writing about. They made it feel more real to you, and you pass that along to your characters. Having a 98-year-old early resident of a small mountain township will have stories to tell that are not recorded in history, but happened just the same.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a date with my manuscript…

♥  TTFN  ♥